There are basically two types of movie websites: digital billboards, which are mostly what’s out there, and the kind that defy categorization. The site for Darren Aronofsky’s visceral and moving new film about addiction, Requiem for a Dream (www.requiemforadream.com), fits the latter description — its continously eroding imagery and narrative sound montages are unlike any promo you’ve seen before. It’s so experimental, in fact, that we asked him to explain it.
The site is hard to navigate. Was there concern that people would be confused by it?
Even sophisticated people have called me up and said, ”Hey, it’s crashing my computer!” And I said, ”No, no, no. That’s the aesthetic.” I think that the people who are going to bug out on this website, who are savvy in the Internet world and can get into this really sophisticated design, are going to be people that dig the movie. Most people go to the Internet and they want their 30 seconds of information and then they’re gone. It’s not that type of experience. It’s more like Myst. It’s a landscape you have to explore.
Why do the seasons play such a significant role on the site?
The movie takes place from summer to fall to winter, and likens how those seasons go from bright and happy to decay to despair as the film progresses. So [the U.K.-based design collective hi,Res!] structured the site through the seasons’ arc, but they did it through two arcs. They took the Sara arc, which is Ellen Burstyn, and then they took the Harry, Tyrone, and Marion arc, which is Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans, and Jennifer Connelly. When I saw that, I was totally blown away. They took the ideas from the movie and [Hubert Selby Jr.’s 1978] book and interpreted [them] in their medium. In a totally new way. So that basically the website exists as this experience on its own. A viewer can go there and, without the movie, have an emotional experience, an intellectual experience, an ”ooh, that’s cool” experience.
You’re on deck to direct the next installment of the Batman series, but you’re also working on your own science-fiction film. Which comes first?
I’ve been working on the sci-fi film for 10 months, writing it. I want to do a post-Matrix science-fiction film, because The Matrix has sort of redefined everything. My college roommate, who is the smartest guy I ever met, just graduated from NYU, got his Ph.D. in neuroscience. And since [he’s] a scientist — and just a brilliant guy — I said, ”Why don’t you create a story with me?”
[With] Batman, the deal isn’t completely done, but hopefully I’ll write it and develop it into a film as well. It’s just, with any of these big films — who knows what’s going to happen? So I’m just pushing them both forward as much as I can.